September 29, 2017

A leaked table plan showed the PM spent the evening sandwiched between Poland’s Beata Szydło and Portuguese prime minister António Costa.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel was far away across the room and French President Emmanuel Macron a several seats away,
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani and the secretary-general of the Council, Jeppe Tranholm-Mikkelsen, were also dotted around the room.

Oh no you don’t May! Photo shows how EU kept PM from talking to Merkel in Brexit block

There is always a heavy emphasis among leaders of the 27 remaining countries on the importance of maintaining unity in the Brexit negotiations — a point they are happy to drive home “even with Mrs May in the room”.
Which is perhaps why officials sat the PM a safe distance from any possible confrontation so the leaders could enjoyed an Estonian feast of smoked fish roe, rabbit liver, salmon and steak without rowing over trade deals, citizens' rights and the Irish border.

Oh no you don’t May! Photo shows how EU kept PM from talking to Merkel in Brexit block

European Council President Donald Tusk chaired the event and took pride of place at the head of the table alongside Estonian leader Jari Rutas who hosted the dinner at Tallinn’s grand Kadriorg Art Museum, a baroque palace built in the 18th century.
Mr Tusk was keen to keep the focus firmly away from Brexit but that was no mean feat considering he had held talks with Mrs May in Downing Street earlier in the week as the fourth round of official negotiations got under way in Brussels.

Oh no you don’t May! Photo shows how EU kept PM from talking to Merkel in Brexit block

Sources said both sides noted a much-improved atmosphere around negotiating table, thanks largely to Mrs May’s Florence speech, but there is still deadlock over some core points on the divorce terms.
The stalemate often makes summits involving all 28 countries a bit awkward for Mrs May but one EU official said the leaders were getting used to the situation.
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